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Message to the UM Community

Members of the university community,

Last Thursday, I was officially named interim president of the University of Missouri System, a day that I will never forget and a moment that filled me with humility and pride. Today was the first full day of my first week as president, and it was a day that had me thinking about trust.

As president of this great university, there is no more important task at hand right now than rebuilding trust – among all of our students, the parents of our students, our faculty and staff, alumni and donors, and state leaders. I am committed to regaining that trust during my tenure through working to improve the culture and climate across our campuses, one that is healthy and built upon the respect of others. It is my responsibility to encourage an ongoing dialogue with our entire university community and guide our next steps for moving the UM System forward.

As I started my first full week in office, I had the chance to begin that dialogue with a variety of meetings and events. This morning, I had an informative visit with members of Missouri’s Black Caucus, and also had productive conversations with our state’s two U.S. Senators. I met with campus leadership about moving forward on issues that have been brought to life by student activists. I had the opportunity to welcome our newest member of the UM Board of Curators, Yvonne Sparks, and also joined Interim MU Chancellor Hank Foley in showing our gratitude for a job well-done to Mizzou’s head football coach Gary Pinkel at his retirement news conference. Ahead there will be days packed with meetings, conversations, and additional dialogue with individuals throughout our university community to begin the hard work of rebuilding that trust, which is my priority each and every day as your president.

There is no doubt that the challenges we face as a university system are daunting, a point that was illustrated today in a story that ran in the Columbia Tribune. But from great challenges come great opportunity, which is what our beloved university has before us. I am honored to lead you, and excited about working toward creating a university that we can imagine.  


Michael Middleton
Interim President

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